Prosciutto wrapped beans

These are a fantastic side dish to your roast dinner or a lovely starter for a dinner party. They really are simple and full of flavour. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Ingredients

100 g prosciutto

400 g green beans

1 tsp garlic, crushed

A splash of olive oil

1 tbs butter

 

Method

Cut the ends off your beans if you’d like to. Sometimes I leave them on for a more rustic look, but if serving as a starter, I’d happily chop! Boil the kettle or a pot of water and blanch your beans for about 3 minutes until vibrantly green. Remove and put in a bowl of cold water. Drain and place on paper towel. Now wrap 4 to 5 beans in a length of prosciutto. Place a splash of olive oil and a bit of butter in a fry pan and heat, adding the garlic (if you’re a fan of garlic) with a little stir. Now add your wraps and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Ta da! You did it! Easy as! Now serve and enjoy!

 

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Prosciutto wrapped beans

Fantastic focaccia

This little beauty has become a staple in my home almost every weekend. We really enjoy it and I serve it at most family get togethers too. Something about the scent of warm bread and the gorgeous little crunch with the fluffy internal yumminess just brings people closer. Have a go, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Ingredients

1 ¼ cups warm water

A pinch of salt

2 tsp dired yeast (that will be the 7g packet they sell pre measured)

A pinch of sugar

A splash of olive oil

About 3 cups of plain flour

 

Method

In your mixing bowl let the warm water, sugar and yeast mingle for about 10 minutes. You will see it goes frothy and brown on the top. That is fine! It is supposed to! Now add your olive oil, salt and flour. Mix on a low speed until combined into a dough. If you need more flour, go for it, a little at a time. Same if you need more water. But just add tablespoons at a time until it is perfect dough consistency. Now cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside for at least an hour. This gives you time to jump on the trampoline, water the vege patch or even have a relaxing soaking bath and get a few chapters read of that book you’re reading!

Back to business…

Divide the dough in half and knead for a minute with your floured hands. Now roll with a rolling pin or shape by hand, placing your bread on a baking tray lined with baking paper. It is trampoline time again, for at least half an hour let the trays sit in an oven (not on) or an enclosed space (this can even be on a bench with heavy tea towel over it).

Now it has risen a little more, sprinkle with some sea salt (and herbs if you like), stab with a fork all over, or poke with your fingers a little, and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. Smell your home!! That is what dreams are made of! Now drizzle with a little olive oil and serve warm. This will not last long – everyone will come running for your beautiful focaccia!

As a variation sometimes I chop some herbs such as rosemary and add it in the dough mixing process. Make it as you like it, but always serve with love!

Fantastic focaccia

Toblerone mousse

Toblerone is a milk chocolate with small pieces of nougat through it with a slight nutty taste. I’ve also used this recipe with plain chocolate and it is lovely. I guess you can buy your favourite chocolate and give this a whirl. It really is delightful!

 

 

Ingredients

500 g toblerone chocolate, broken into bits

5 eggs separated

1 ¼ cups thickened cream

 

Method

Chop up the chocolate and either put it in a microwave safe dish, then microwave in 40 second spirts until melted, or, place in a steel bowl above some boiling water and stir until melted. Whatever tickles you fancy. Now leave to cool.

Separate the eggs into different dishes. Beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until soft peaks form. This will take a good 5 whole minutes or more, so pop on a great tune to sing along to! Stir your egg yolks into the chocolate, and don’t worry if it appears strange, you will sort it! Beat the cream in a different bowl until stiffness starts and then fold into the chocolate and yolk mixture, folding until combined. Add the egg whites and fold them in with as few folds as you can. Try not to eat it yet!

Spoon the mix into dishes/cups/serving glasses whatever you prefer and leave in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight. Sometimes I use our water glasses and top with a raspberry or mint just prior to serving (as in the picture above). I the past I have used plastic cups for a child’s birthday party, and just before serving I added a sprig of mint to the top as it looked like a plant growing (it was a garden birthday theme)! Enjoy this beautiful mousse! You will make it again! I promise!

Toblerone mousse

the lazy lunch box

So it is term three here in Queensland! Putting together great lunches seems to be a morning chore that I am not that enthused about. So, if you’re like me and needing some inspo, here you go; fresh, easy, lazy lunches…

 Bits of fruit from the fridge and some sandwiches with cheese and crackers went down a treat!

 

 It’s a little fruit and veg with some carbs here… my girl loves sugar plums!!

 

 Nuts are allowed in some schools, not my girls, but my boys is ok so he can get his pistachio on!

 

 Really just whatever fruit or veg you have, a little carbohydrate and some homemade cookies are the best fuss free, yummy lunches!

 

 Apple, grapes, paw paw and a ham roll.

 

  So whatever you’ve got, or if you’re going shopping, just whatever fruit is in season, a few veges like snowpeas or carrot, then some sandwich or crackers and a treat should pull them through. Its 6 hours…. they’ll be home for afternoon tea and dinner!

I hope this helps with your lunch box duty. Keeping it simple and fresh is easier and cheaper than all the muesli bars and bought crap, I promise!

 

 

 

the lazy lunch box

Queensland grey pumpkin soup

Sometimes our body needs a little love. With all the vitamins and minerals packed into a pumpkin alone, then adding the amazing carrots and apple you’re home and hosed! And the best thing? It’s so yummy! Dear friends of mine, Mary and Pat, gifted me a homegrown Queensland grey and I couldn’t resist! So after having baked pumpkin, steamed pumpkin and a pumpkin gnocchi, I used the rest in this incredibly delicious soup! My kids love this pumpkin soup, I hope you do to!

 

Ingredients

4 cups (about half a full pumpkin) of chopped Queensland Grey pumpkin

2 chopped carrots

1 green apple

3 cups vegetable stock

1 onion

5 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed

A splash of olive oil

Salt and pepper

A handful of herbs (I have used thyme, parsley and oregano)

 

 

Method

Place a splash of olive oil into a large soup pot. Heat on medium and then add your onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Now add your vegetables and apple. Stir everything ensuring to coat your veges in the garlic goodness. Now add your stock and bring to the boil. Pop the lid on and turn down to a simmer for half an hour. Add your herbs and let them soak in to the richness of your creation.

How you like your soup will depend on what you do next. Sometimes I mash the soup with a potato masher and add a cup of water. Other times I blend it until super smooth, and just add half a cup of water. This is personal preference, so do as you wish. Season with salt and pepper and serve with love!

Queensland grey pumpkin soup

Almond croissants

It was a lovely rainy Sunday and I didn’t feel like venturing into the village nearby to buy pastries for afternoon tea, so I decided to make some. These were just beautiful. I made some really small, the triangles were only about 10cm in length. And I made some normal size like the bakery (which I baked for a little longer). They were so scrumptious! I hope your next rainy day has a little magic in it!

 

Ingredients

Puff pastry sheets

4 tbs melted butter

2/3 cup muscavado sugar

1 2/3 cup almond meal

30ml good quality almond essence

20ml water

 

Method

Place the almond meal and sugar in a bowl and stir together. Now add the almond essence and water, stirring until you have made a wet crumble that you can press together in your fingers. Cut your pastry sheets into triangles (mine were a little dodgy as geometry is not my strong suit) or into squares, whichever you prefer. Sprinkle the mixture onto the pastry and then roll – for triangles roll from large edge to point, for the squares roll them diagonally.

Triangles

Squares

Rolled up and ready!

Now brush the little morsels you’re your melted butter.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes until golden brown. If you like, place some sliced almonds on top or inside too. I make them with and without the sliced almonds, and they are lovely either way. Also, if you want an extra sugar rush dust with icing powder!!

Almond croissants

Carrot & Parsnip Mash

Grandad is Irish and consequently loves a great bit of parsnip! I like it as a good root vegetable that gives good nourishment so we try to utilise it in various ways. I hope this brings you something new, and you like this one! It is simple and yummy!

Ingredients

500 g carrots

500 g parsnips

100 g butter

Salt and pepper to your liking

 

Method

Boil your veges together in a little salted water. Drain. Add the butter and mash away! Sometimes I mash this very rough when serving with lamb shanks, or I stick blend it smooth for babies or if using it as a side with other stocky veges.

Carrot & Parsnip Mash